Avian flu is evolving. How worried should the world be?

By The Big Story

In today’s Big Story podcast, a strain of H5N1 avian flu has spent the past year infecting millions of wild birds, thousands of mammals, and even a handful of humans. To experts who track the disease, it’s clear something is up. But we’re not yet sure what will come of it.

Dr. Shayan Sharif is the acting dean of the Ontario Veterinary College and a professor of pathobiology. He joins us to explain what we know about the spread of H5N1, and what would need to happen for the disease to gain a foothold in human populations.

“It could become endemic and lose its pathogenicity, or it could actually become more pathogenic,” he said. “We can’t rely on the virus, we have to rely on ourselves and our systems, including our scientific and government systems, to protect us.”

While it remains unlikely at this point, there is pandemic potential here. Are we sleepwalking towards another disaster?

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify.

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

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